Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Something's Missing

Can you figure it out? Something large and colorful is no longer taking up space in our living room. The baby corral has been retired. Now that Fletch can walk, it was getting harder to convince him that staying in the corral was fun. Also, I hosted book club and needed to make room. Once I took it down, and remembered how big our living room looks, we decided to keep it down. However, ever since we took it down, Fletch has lost interest in his toys. Apparently the cord to my laptop is WAY more exciting. All those toys you see laying on the floor are toys that I pulled out trying to entice him away from my laptop cord. I was unsuccessful as you can see.
We did have to make some more safety precautions, now that we have a free-range baby. So we headed over to the super baby megastore with our 20% off coupon and got ourselves a gate for the stairs.
Now Fletch is free to roam around the house. Mamma and Dadda have gotten a few extra gray hairs, but nothing a box of color can't fix.

Monday, August 9, 2010

And we're walking

Yep...Fletch is officially walking. I guess that makes him a toddler. EEK!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Month in Georgia Part 5: Back to Atlanta then Home!

It was another kick-back kind of week, but we did finally make it to the zoo on Thursday. It would be ridiculous if we didn't go since it is walking distance from Scott and Anyess' house. We got up early and started our day. First stop was the Flamingos. They were stinky!
We didn't stay there long, so then it was on to one of my favorites...the elephants! They were being fed while we watched. They were covered in Georgia red clay. I had never seen a red elephant before.
We passed a sleeping wart hog family on our way into the jungle.
Then we saw the giraffes. A baby giraffe had been born about a month ago and it was finally out in the open for everyone to see. 
The rhino was being elusive, as well as the lions and tigers. The zebras, however, were glad to put on a show for the camera.
Zoo Atlanta has a lot of gorillas. Growing up in San Antonio, I think we had one. OK, maybe two. However, they NEVER came out of their cave. NEVER! So I was in awe watching the gorillas and their families out in the open. We saw silverbacks:
And we saw a mama gorilla and her baby. The baby gorilla was born on May 23rd, the same birthday as Atom! 
Fletch even got to take a picture with a gorilla!
(did you people really think I'd give my baby to a gorilla?)
We saw some smaller monkeys on the way to the bigger primates.
Then we were on to the orangoutangs. They are smart! There is an interactive tree in their area with a touch screen. They can play matching and memory games and they are rewarded with treats. I had a little Planet of the Apes flash back for a moment. 

We went in the reptile house to cool off for a bit, but I didn't take too many pictures in there. It's hard to take pictures of animals behind glass. Luckily, I got some great pictures of the Pandas even though they were behind glass too.
I love pandas. Not only are they adorable, but they were the mascot at my first elementary private school, Henry de Oso. Weird animal for a mascot, but we didn't really have any team sports anyway. 

On the way out we took a ride on the carousel. Fletch picked the giant gorilla to ride on at first, but then we moved to the manatee because it moved up and down. Again, trying to pry his hands off of that pole was a challenge.
I was able to console him with another pole-gripping opportunity, when we went on the train ride.
After the train ride was over, Fletch made me aware that it was about time to leave. He adamantly demanded we go, but passed out before we even got to the gift shop. I grabbed a souvenir tee for him and enjoyed the air conditioning for a little bit. Considering he was passed out, I figured I'd go check out the Cyclorama. Of course there are no strollers allowed on the tour, but he had a good 30 minute nap before the tour started. There are also no pictures allowed. The only picture I took was of the The Texas, a civil war train that was part of The Great Locomotive Chase. I'd give you details if I knew them. Again, I'm not a huge Civil War buff. But here's a picture...
Well you know I had to take a picture of this, right? wink, wink. The tour starts with a brief history movie about the Battle of Atlanta. Then we were all escorted onto the spinning platform in the Cyclorama. It was an interesting thing to see. Would I be bored out of my mind if I was a kid on a field trip, absolutely. 
Friday evening, we had friends come over before we departed the next day. We grilled and hung out all night talking about a wide assortment of things until we all threw in the towel and passed out. Saturday morning we loaded up the Xterra and hit the road back home. We were blessed to have safe travels there and back. It was great to spend a good amount of time with family and friends. As much as we enjoyed traveling for the month, we're looking forward to everyone coming to visit us at home.

A Month in Georgia Part 4: Savannah Weekend Trip

On Friday, we packed up for a weekend trip to see Aunt Lisa in Savannah. Atom had never been and it was only 4 hours away. On Saturday, we went down to the river front for some lunch and sight seeing. We went to see The Waving Girl statue.
After that we were on a mission to find pint glasses. Considering the loose drinking laws in Savannah, you'd think this would be an easy task. Unfortunately it was not. We walked away with one and it wasn't really specific to Savannah. Oh well, we had some fun and a few beers along the way. Sunday we hit the beach. We went to Tybee Island. First we went to the light house. I had never been in a light house, much less to the top of one. My sister went with me even though she had been before. There were a lot of stairs to conquer, but once we got to the cat walk, the view and nice cool breeze made up for it. 

Once we made our way back down, we headed to the beach. This was Fletch's first time at the beach. Since he already got eating sand out of the way, he was more interested in the water. Daddy and I brought him into the ocean for a few minutes, but I was not too comfortable going very deep or staying in too long with him in my arms. So we let him crawl around in the sand for a while.
We packed up, rinsed off and headed to the Crab Shack for some early dinner. We ordered a huge boiled plate that had: shrimp, crab legs, crab claws, crawfish, sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob. It was DELICIOUS...

Outside the front door of the Crab Shack, they have an alligator pond. YES...GATORS! You can buy some gator bait to tie to the end of a fishing pole to have them ferociously fight for it, if that's your thing. I preferred the napping baby alligators.
After a great weekend with my sister, we headed back to Atlanta on Monday.
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A Month in Georgia Part 3: Atlanta with the Mitchells

We had some recuperating to do from the weekend, so our week got off to a slow start. It was terribly hot outside, so I took Fletch to the Children's Museum in downtown Atlanta. I use the word museum loosely. I'd call it an educational playground, which is great because I believe in learning through play. It was well air conditioned, so it was a win-win. Fletch had fun playing in the soft play area, the water table and the sand box. The sand was interesting. It was a special sand that stuck together so you could form things from it. Of course, Fletch had to take a taste. Thank goodness it was a nice firm ball of sand that was easily removed from his mouth. 

That was really the only exciting thing we did the first week there. The rest of the week consisted of running errands and hanging out with the Mitchell Family and friends.
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A Month in Georgia Part 2: Grandpa's in Snellville

The next day was Sunday and time to move all our belongings to Grandpa's House. So we packed up and dropped everything off before heading out to Stone Mountain for Fletch's second birthday party. We decided to have a birthday party for Fletch in Atlanta, so all of his family and Atlanta friends could help him celebrate. We all met up at Stone Mountain to have a picnic and then roam around the park. We all enjoyed some food and cupcakes. 

Some people had to get going to other planned arrangements or to go home and enjoy air conditioning, but the rest of us went to explore the park. Luckily Grandpa scored us some wristbands to enjoy some of the attractions for free. The first thing we did was take the cable car Skyride to the top of the mountain. I didn't take any pictures from the cable car for a few reasons. 1. A very large dude with a huge bulky backpack was in front of me and wouldn't stop squishing me. 2. I wanted to hold on for dear life. 3. Did I mention I'm slightly afraid of heights? and 4. Did I also mention that I've seen that James Bond movie Moonraker, where Jaws bites through the cable and then a fight scene ensues on top of a swinging cable car high above the city below? Needless to say, we got to the top of the mountain in one piece. Stone Mountain reminds me a lot of Enchanted Rock in Texas. I'm glad we took the short cut up the Skyride because I was wearing flip flops that day. It wasn't easy walking around at the top in those with Fletch on my back. It was hazy outside because of the heat and humidity, so I didn't get perfect views of the city. I did however get some other great views.

Here is my hazy view of Atlanta:
After we came back down we decided to take a ride on the scenic train loop. This is no kiddie train people, it is a full size train! The cars are open air, but the engine is a locomotive. Fletch, as usual had to find the nearest pole to hang on to with the kung-fu grip. It's adorable until the ride has ended and you have to pry his fingers off, which starts the pterodactyl shriek from hell. It's worth it to see him enjoy it so much, really it is. The train takes you around the entire mountain and you get a great view of the carving on the mountain.
(The three men are Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and Lt. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Yes, I had to look that up. I am not a Civil War buff, nor a fan of the Confederacy)
After the train ride, we headed back to Grandpa's. There is a laser show at night that is presented on the carved wall. It starts at 9:30, which is past Fletch's bed time. So we went back Thursday night to see it. According to the hubby, it is a must see, and institution of Atlanta and a perfect place for making out. It was a little cheesy, but I wasn't expecting the Pink Floyd laser show. 
While we were at Grandpa's, it was a busy week. Wednesday night we went to dinner in the city to celebrate Anyess' birthday, which happens to fall on Bastille Day. Considering she's a Frenchy, it was a double occasion for celebration. We went to Amuse and the food and company were great. We ended the night with a birthday shot, per the birthday girl's request.

Grandpa decided to take a few days off so he could hang with Fletch and me. We went to Chic-fil-A on Thursday for lunch, but not the one he works at. Then on Friday, Grandpa, Gammy, Fletch and I headed over to the Yellow River Game Ranch. They rescue animals that can't be put back into the wild and they have a large assortment. There are deer, peacocks, chickens and other various non-deadly animals that roam around. We were approached by a small deer looking for some corn. We did not have any corn, so he decided to lick Fletch's toes instead. He was nice enough to let us give him a few pets.
Here is a montage of the animals we saw:
Then on Saturday, as a surprise for Anyess' birthday, we all met up to go to the 311/Offspring concert at Lakewood Amphitheatre. I love 311, and back in the day Daddy did too. Actually he and his best friends have seen 311 numerous times in their youth. So this concert was kind of like a family reunion for the boys. We all had a great time, as you can see.
Grandpa and Gammy were awesome for babysitting Fletch three nights while we stayed with them. We don't get the chance very often, so we had as much fun as possible. Sunday was time to pack up and move on to our next stop, Scott and Anyess' house in Grant Park. They live right by the zoo and close to downtown. 
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A Month in Georgia Part 1 : Cumming to Grandma's in Winder

Since Daddy works from home, we came up with the brilliant idea of going to Atlanta for an entire month. Daddy can work anywhere there is a wireless connection and a quiet place to concentrate. Since the drive is anywhere from 11 to 12 hours, we had to make the trip worth it by staying longer than a week. We also made this trip a test run, to see if there is a possibility of doing this in the future. After a week of planning and packing, we packed up the car and headed South on July 3rd. We took the scenic route down 29 this time. We drove past UVA and through the hills and valleys of Virginia. It was a much more interesting drive than driving down I95 to I85. Our first stop was at the Miess' House in Cumming, GA. Kim, T-Bone, Joey and Jacob were wonderful hosts. They had a 4th of July party, WITH A GIANT SLIP AND SLIDE!
There were also a few kiddie pools set up for the wee ones to play in.
Daddy wanted to take Fletch down the slip and slide, but unfortunately it's hard to get momentum sitting down and holding a 24 pound baby. So they scooted their way down together.
Luckily no one took any pictures of me going down the slip and slide. I went down quite a few times and it was a lot of fun. You kind of crash into the inflated wall at the end and then get spit out the side. After all the sliding and eating from a delicious smorgasbord of food it was dark outside. Time for FIREWORKS! The kids had a blast playing with sparklers.
I didn't think Fletch was quite ready for the fiery hotness of burning Ferrotitanium. So Daddy held a sparkler for Fletch to admire.
After we burned through all the sparklers, it was on to the fountains, roman candles and the big guns.

The next day was spent recuperating for a bit before heading to Grandma's house for the following week.  

Grandma works from home just like Daddy, so it was interesting to watch them work at desks right next to each other (especially on conference calls). I think that Fletch and Mama were a bit of a distraction for them throughout the day, but they both managed to get their work done. 

While we were there, we went to the YMCA to swim one day. It was extremely hot that week, so we stayed in the water a lot longer than usual. Friday night, Grandma and Grandpa Neil watched Fletch while we went out with T-bone and Kim to see an Ozzy Osborne cover tribute band.  You should have seen those two men get so excited over a cover tribute band. The beer was cheap and we probably had too much considering our plans for the next day. On Saturday, we all packed into the Xterra for a short road-trip to Tallulah Gorge at Tallula Falls. We doused ourselves in bug spray, strapped Fletch into the Ergo Carrier and hit the trails. Tallulah Gorge is the largest gorge on the East Coast. We did the scenic trails, but did not go down the millions of steps to go across the gorge. It was pretty hot and I had a large baby strapped to my back. Side note: Parts of the movie Deliverance were filmed at the gorge. It really is a sight to see. (The gorge and the movie.)

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